Architect's Specifications from 1876

While doing research on the Hammond House I came across the architect's specifications for the building that had been transcribed into the County Commissioners Records. It was a bit of a challenge to read them because of the handwriting and because of the rather random punctuation style. For example, tildes (~) were used to indicate periods, commas, and sometimes - apparently - just for fun.

Specifications of County Jail Robertson, County, Texas

Specifications of the labor and material required in the erection and completion of a County Jail building for County of Robertson, State of Texas, according to plans attached to this specification made and prepared by W.P. Ingraham, Architect, St. Louis, MO, September 21st, 1875,

General Arrangements

Refer to plans elevations and section which are drawn to a scale of one quarter inch per foot, the scale only to be used in the absence of figures or full sized details.


All excavating essential for the reception of the foundation walls to be excavated to the proper depth and width all earth removed to be used in filling up Jail room to the required height to receive the paving.

Foundation Walls

All the walls colored blue on plans and sections to be constructed of a good quality hard burned brick laid in lime and cement mortar footing courses to be bottomed off as shown on section, all joints exposed to view on extensions to be (x) neatly pointed, for sizes and dimensions of walls refer to plans and sections which are figured:

Cut Stone

All stone for cut work, to be composed of a good quality quarry building stone, the steps to the entrances of building will be of cut stone, also the base blocks and caps to the Buttresses, on front and side entrances, as indicated on elevations, the window and door sills also cut stone, all to receive a neat drove face, or hammer dressed face with tooled margins; < large blank??? >all to be the required dimensions, for sizes, refer to drawings. All windows to have cast iron caps costing not less than fifteen dollars each per cap.

(The following is, I believe, a footnote to the (x) in the "Foundation Walls" section.) If depth of foundations walls as indicated on Sections not of sufficient depth to insure a secure foundations to go to proper depth, said extra depths to be paid as extra work, said extra work to be apprised by three disinterested parties.

Brick Masonry

All walls colored red on plans and section to be constructed of a good quality hard merchantable front brick no soft or smoky brick to be exposed to view, all joints to be neatly pointed the interior face of walls of cell houses and room in main building in which cages are located to be carried up to a line and joints to be neatly pointed to receive whitewash. Extra care is to be observed in capping out the walls forming the cornices of main building, cell house and main entrances, chimneys to be constructed as shown: flues8 x 8 inches neatly plastered on inside, 6 inch thimbles placed where required, all walls to be carried up plumb and level and well anchored with iron T anchors constructed of ¼ x 1¼" iron anchors to extend within 4 inches of the outer face of wall and firmly spiked to joist, walls to be of thicknesses shown and figured on plans, to which refer for further information. All mortar to be composed of good fresh lime and sharp clean sand, the same well tempered, all iron window guards and iron frames to be set by brick mason for sizes refer to plans. ½


The cell room outside of iron cells and corridor to be paved with a good quality hard paving brick laid on sand 3 inches in depth flat-wise, laid even and smooth to insure a good floor, also the room in main building where iron cells are located to be paved in like manner.


The cells will rest on brick walls as indicated on plans, said walls to extend into the ground farther enough to insure a good foundation with a footing course 18 inches in width the main wall 13 inches thick.

Cess Pool

There will be one cess pool constructed in rear of cell house as indicated on sections seven feet in diameter and ten (10) feet in depth, measuring from under edge of stone cover, the same walled up with hard brick wall 4" thick, and properly turned at top as shown, to have a manhole 18" in diameter, the walls to receive one coat of cement of a good quality ~ the cess pool to be covered at the manhole with an iron cover 3' (6" x 3' (6 with a manhole in same to suit the manhole of the cess-pool with a cover to same, this cover to be constructed of No. 10 sheet iron the same made air tight to prevent all stench arising there from.


There will be one cistern constructed, the same eight 8 feet in diameter, and sixteen (16) feet in depth constructed same as cess pool, the cistern will have the bottom bricked and cemented, where in the cess pool it is not, the water will be conveyed to the cistern from thro (?) down spouts on the building by the use of 4 inch earthen sewer pipes laid 18 inches from the surface of the ground.~

Carpenter Work


The first and second floors will be constructed of hard pine joist 2" x 12" inches, the same placed 16" inches from centers and properly turned up and budged with lattice budging 1" x 3" all trimmers around stair and flues double thickness.


All flooring, yellow pine, inch thick, tongued and grooved and dressed on one side, no board to exceed in width six inches, flooring 1st grade, well seasoned, the same neatly lyed head joints to be drove up close, the same neatly smoothed off.

Ceiling Joist

Ceiling joist hard pine 2 x 8 inches, place the same 16" from centers well budge the same, there will be a truss formed over jail room, and ceiling joist framed into same truss constructed of hard pine joist spiked securely together to form the proper sizes, tie beam will be 8" x 12" inches braces 6" x 8" inches with an 1" inch iron rod - in center, as shown, with tap on one end and double nutts and washer on other end, the tie beam is to cambered at least, (1 ½") inch and one half.


The rafters will be 2 x 6 inches placed 20" inches from centers of hard pine plates 2" x 6" cover the roof with inch pine sheathing, undressed, thoroughly seasoned, the same securely nailed to the rafters.

Doors Outside

Doors to main entrance 2'(6" x 7' made of flooring inch thick, double thickness ~ one thickness upright, the other diagonal the same rebated on one edge to intersect in the center, transom over pane as indicated on elevation, frame for said doors to be a plain plank frame with plain inpost, thickness of Jambs 1 ¾ inches, rebated on inside to receive doors and transom plain 4" inches architrave square head, all material hard pine, entrance door and frame to cells in main building constructed in same manner, door single 3' (6 x 7 feet with transom above outside door to family room, constructed in same manner, except there will be no transom door 3' x 7 feet, this door will be segment head.

Doors Inside

There will be three (3) doors 3 x 7 feet with plain plank frames. Jambs 1¾ inche rebated on one edge to receive the door, doors four panel 1¾ inches thick molded stiles and rails, architraves plain, four inches in width and one inch thick, frames and architrave's hard pine, doors white pine first quality, all material for doors and frames thoroughly seasoned.


All windows throughout segment head on inside and out, all frames plain plank frames. Jambs 1 3/8 inches rebated on inside edge to receive sash, plain architrave 4" inches in width and one inch thick, material for same yellow pine thoroughly seasoned.


The sash will be divided into four parts on quarters, with impost in frame to secure sash running horizontally ~ There will be (4) four windows with sash 8 lights- 14 x 28 glass 1¾ inches thick

There will be 4 windows with sash 8 lights- 14 x 18 inches 1¾ inch thick.

There will be 5 windows 8 lights 14 x 16 inch glass sash 1¾ inches thick, all the above shash divided into four parts two (2) windows sash 4 lights 18" x 18" two (2) windows sash 4 lights-18" x 16" the same 1¾ inch thick, divided into two parts, all sash white pine well seasoned.


The doors to be hung with 3 ½ x 4 inch loose joint butts - 3 pair to each outside door, and two (2) to inside doors locked with 5 inch mortice locks, with porcelain knobs. The sash to be hung with 2½" x 2½" butts two pair to each sash, sash secured with good spring bolts of wrought iron.


Each room except the room in which the iron cells are located will receive a ten inch base, plain, the same neatly fitted to the floor.


There will be one flight of platform stairs in main hall as shown, step 3' (6" in length 1 1/8 thick hard pine risers 7/8 hard pine steps and risers tongued and glued together and housed into wall string steps to receive a returned slated noseing steps to be supported on three strong carriages, wall string 1 3/8 thick, face string 9/8 thick, surmount the steps with a 2 x 4 inch walnut rail (newd??) 9" inches in diameter of a neat design baulesters 1¾ inch in drain all walnut thoroughly seasoned for the position of the stairs refer to the plans.


All the walls and ceilings throughout the building (except the walls of the jail room and walls of the room in main building in which the iron cells are located) are to receive two (2) coats of brown mortar, the last coat to be floated off smooth and even, mortar to well mixed with slaughtered hair.


All lath white pine free from sap and bark thoroughly seasoned.

Tin Work

There will be four (4) four (4" inch down spouts secured to the walls with galvanized iron hooks constructed of X-tin, gutters, valleys and all flashing constructed of X-tin. The gutter to have the proper pitch to carry the water to the down spouts ~ the front and side entrances as shown on the elevations to be covered with X-tin and 1 ½ down spout to each one running from the cornice of same to the ground.

Iron Roofing

The roof of main building, and that of the cell house, will be covered with Outcalls patented elastic iron roofing, the same securely cleated to the sheathings.

Painting and Glazing

All wood work both inside and out, usual to paint, to receive two coats of white lead and linseed oil, all trim work to receive two coats of mineral paint and oil, all iron work to receive two coats of mineral paint and oil, the inside of cells to be painted white, two coats of lad and oil, all glass double strength American the same well beaded bedded and back puttyed.

White Washing

The walls and ceilings throughout the building to receive one coat of lime white wash, two coats on the brick walls if essential.

Iron Work

There will be six cells in cell house 7 x 8 feet, and 7 feet high with corridor in front of same 5 feet in width and 21 feet in length, cells two tier high as shown with a water closet and wash basin in each ward, the front and back of these cells to be constructed of bars 3/8" x 2" inches, the same steel with a wrought iron center the same hardened to be proof against sawing, filing or breaking, the meshes on openings 2 ½" inches, these bars riveted at each intersection with ½" inch rivets counter sunk on the inside, doors to cells 2 x 6 feet constructed of same material with feed opening at the bottom, hung with heavy double strap hinges, with lock bar in center, and locked with Scandinavian jail pad lock in addition to lever lock, the partitions of cells, rear end of corridor floors and ceiling of cell and corridors to be constructed of ¼" inch jail plate, all angles secured with 2x ¼" inch angle iron thus. (Drawing) All other joints to lap riveted with 3/8 rivets four (4) inches from centers.


The corridor in front of cells as shown will be constructed of 7/8 inch round bars 3 ½ inches from centers, with gas pipe collars every five feet to hold the horizontal bars in there proper position. There will be twelve (12) horizontal bars ½" x 2½" inch round bars riveted at top and bottom to the horizontal bars in door to corridor 2' (6' x 7 feet square as corridor grating, each horizontal bar to act as a hinge, door locked with a heavy slide bolt extending into lever box, and locked then in with a padlock.


There will be one flight of stairs leading to upper tier of cells, the steps will be yellow pine 1 1/8 inch thick, supported on wrought iron carriages of sufficient strength ~ balcony to be constructed of iron, with light T-iron joist No. 10 sheet irons resting on the same forming the floor. There will be a light wrought iron railing surmounting the steps and returning around the balcony as shown on plan and section.

Lever Locks

In addition to pad locks, each cell door will be locked with P.J. Pauly's patent Lever Lock and box, lever box constructed of jail plate ¼" inch thick, door to same locked with combination lock, there will be two lever boxes as shown.


There will be one of Smith's patented pan water closet in each corridor as shown, with all the necessary cocks, supply and over flow pipes from the tank above also to connect with the 5 inch cast iron sewer pipe with an S stench trap, this iron pipe to extend into the cess-pool as shown. There will be a porcelain lined cast iron wash basin in each seat of the water closet, with supply pipe and waist pipe to each.


There will be a tank 4 x 6 feet by (2'10") two feet ten inches in height constructed of No. 12 sheet iron to be perfectly water tight the same placed on top of cells.

Force Pump

There will be a force pump located in cell room of sufficient strength to force the water from the cistern to the iron tank, pump connected with cistern by a lead pipe from pump to water tank with a rubber hose.


There will be two cages or cells in main building as shown on plan, one cell 5 x 9 feet and one cell 9 x 9 feet, cells 7 feet in height, floors, ceiling and back of cells to be constructed of 3/16 inch jail plate iron, all angles secured with 2" x 14" inch angle iron, riveted with 3/8" rivets four inches from centers all other joints to lap and rivet in same manner partitions between cell will also be jail plate 3/16" inch from the front, and sides of cells to be lattice, constructed of bars 3/8" x 4(??) inches of wrought iron meshes ~ 3 inches riveted at each intersection with 3/8" inch rivets ~ doors 2 x 7 feet made same as front of cells hung with heavy double strap hinges. ~ Locked with a heavy Scandinavian jail padlock, there will be a feed opening at the bottom of each door.

Double Door

The main entrance door to cell room will be a double iron door, door opening into jail room to be a lattice door constructed of 3/8 x 2 iron bars 3" meshes, with a squint in the center of same for the use of the jailer as shown on plan constructed of ¾" round bars door opening into hall a solid plate door constructed of 3/16 inch jail plate the same panneled. These doors to be hung to an angle iron frame, angle iron 2½" x 2½" x ¼" with stops to form rebate for doors, the space between these two frames to be closed up with No. 18 sheet iron so as to form a solid box frame thus. (Drawing). These doors to be locked with good heavy five tumbler wrought iron jail locks.

Lattice Doors

There will be lattice doors to the female and insane cells constructed of bars 3/8 x 2 inches 3" inch meshes hung in an angle iron frame 2" x 2" x ¼" with stops to form rebate, the same to fit into a wooden frame thus (Drawing) the same doors to be well hung and locked with jail pad locks, each door to have a feed opening at the bottom.

Box Frame

There will be a box frame 18 x 18 inches, located in the partition wall between the hall and jail room, as indicated on plan, said frame to be constructed of angle iron and plate iron with grating in the center, and a solid plate iron door opened into the hall and locked with padlock. This is for the use of the jailer to overlook the cell room and to give him notice if any disturbance is going on in the cells.

Window Guards

There will be window guards to all the windows, except to the windows in the halls and family rooms, these guards will be constructed of upright round bars 7/8 of an inch placed 4" inches from centers with cross bars ½" x 2½" placed not more than 18 inches from center the same to extend into the wall at least 6 inches and anchored therein, the upright bars to have spear points and to stop 6 inches below the arch work.


There will be one ventilator over jail room as indicated with Emerson's patent cap main pipe constructed of light sheet iron.

Finally all labor and material to be of a good quality and all parts of the work done in strict conformity with the several drawings accompanying this specification.

W.P. Ingraham,
St. Louis, Missouri